Graduate guard Donte Wright tossed in a team-high 23 points, but it wasn't enough as South Carolina State dropped an heartbreaking, 73-64, defeat to Central Arkansas Tuesday (Nov. 21st) at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
Sophomore forward Ian Kinard finished with the games only double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Ozante Fields added six points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
"It was a really hard fought basketball game and I really liked my guy's effort," said SC State head coach Murray Garvin. "We had some crucial turnovers late in the second-half that we couldn't absorb."
"Jordan Howard took advantage of our mishaps and made some key baskets down the stretch," said Garvin. "The big guy in the middle did a great job of affecting our shots. I have to take my hats off to Central Arkansas we battled to the end but they came out on top."
Howard led the way for the Bears with a game-high 26 points, shooting 12-of-13 from the charity stripe. Hayden Koval, the 7-footer for Central Arkansas finished with seven of Central Arkansas 11 blocks and seven rebounds.
The Bulldog defense was at its best holding Jordan White to 5-of-6 from the field and forcing a game-high 19 turnovers. South Carolina State out-rebounded the Bears 45-41, dominating on the offensive boards 18-6.
The Bulldogs led 30-28 during intermission.
SC State opened the second-half with a seven-point lead off a steal and dunk by Ozante Fields at the 17:20 mark. Costly turnovers down the stretch sparked a 21-3 run by Central Arkansas to push ahead 51-40 off a 3-pointer by Darraja Parnell.
Parnell finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Wright pulled the Bulldogs with three nailing back-to-back long range 3-pointers to cut the lead 51-48 with 7:53 remaining in regulation.
Missed shots late in the second-half forced the Bulldogs to send the Bears to the free-throw line, where they shot 84.2% (16-of-19) from the charity strip to seal the victory.
This was South Carolina State's fourth home loss in two years.
"It was good to see the basket go in for some of our guys. I thought Wright played well and we got some production from Ian Kinard," stated Garvin. "We take a little break for the holidays and back at it Sunday against Winthrop."